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Frank Miele Opinion: For Crying Out Loud, the GOP is Incompetent

In the immortal words popularized by Lesley Gore, “It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to.”

Of course, anyone who turned to the Republican Party with expectations of professionalism, constitutionalism, and competence is in the same boat, and as Lesley sang, “You would cry too if it happened to you.”

The month since the midterm elections has provided a crash course for Republicans in the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that political parties are heir to. Whether it was Donald Trump’s ill-timed and ill-considered Thanksgiving dinner with Kanye West (and his white-supremacist plus-one) or the disastrous failure to combat election fraud in Arizona, the GOP has suffered one misstep after another.

You would think that after three disappointing election cycles, the party would be ready to move on from the Ronna McDaniel era, but no, she’s poised to be reelected to a fourth term as chair of the Republican National Committee. Weirdly, she has the continued support of Trump, even though the RNC has done practically nothing to back up the former president’s claims of election fraud and was caught flat-footed in the midterms. If Herschel Walker isn’t elected senator in Tuesday’s runoff election in Georgia, then McDaniel should dutifully resign.

Most concerning, though, is the circular firing squad that has formed in the U.S. House of Representatives, where Republicans will likely hold a slim majority of 222-213. That’s not as big a lead as they had hoped for, but it is enough to wield considerable power over the direction of the country for the next two years. Instead, Republicans seem intent on giving up that power by fighting amongst themselves.

You see, the first order of business for the new Congress will be selecting a speaker to replace Nancy Pelosi. Kevin McCarthy, the longtime leader of the House Republicans, has the support of 188 members of the GOP caucus, but he needs 218 votes to be elected. Five Republicans have declared that they will never vote for McCarthy, which would doom him to failure.

Unfortunately, it could also doom the Republican Party to failure, and that means two more years of unchecked idiocracy under Joe Biden. That’s why this isn’t just another ego-driven power struggle in the halls of Congress. If the Republicans don’t get their act together, and quickly, the country will suffer incalculable harm.

So why is Kevin McCarthy so vital?

He certainly doesn’t deserve to be. For most of his 20-year career in politics, he has been just what he looks like – an empty suit. No one can name any significant accomplishment of his in Congress other than having been elected to a variety of party leadership positions, but none of that matters. At this point, Republicans have little choice but to get behind him or just give up and hand the gavel back to Nancy Pelosi with an apology for thinking they could do any better.

The only current alternative to McCarthy is Arizona’s Rep. Andy Biggs, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus. Gibbs is a true constitutionalist and a worthy advocate for liberty, but he has zero percent chance of becoming speaker and even less chance of having success in the role. Biggs is a fighter, but not a deal-maker, and he wields virtually no influence over the moderate Republicans who would be key to legislative victories. Nor are there any other Republicans willing to challenge McCarthy who have the stature and gravitas to ascend to the speakership.

That’s why even Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of the most MAGA Republicans in the House, has buried the hatchet and endorsed McCarthy for speaker. The alternative is just too scary and would play into the hands of Democrats, who would love to see Republicans marginalize themselves with a speaker who is viewed as too extreme, or even worse, would vote with moderate Republicans to elect a speaker who is unwilling to stand up to Biden.

“The danger is this,” Greene said last month. “Do we want to watch a challenge for speaker of the House simply because [of] the ‘Never Kevin’ movement – just like we’ve seen a ‘Never Trump’ movement? Do we want to see that challenge open the door to Nancy Pelosi handing the gavel to Liz Cheney?”

McCarthy is no conservative’s favorite legislator, but he’s also no Nancy Pelosi – and no Liz Cheney, either. For the past two years he has learned to respect the Freedom Caucus and the America First agenda. As every liberal (and Cheney) will remind you, it was McCarthy’s visit to Mar-a-Lago in January 2021 that began the rehabilitation of President Trump’s public image after the Jan. 6 riot. Whether or not he came late to the party, McCarthy has finally recognized that the GOP is either the voice of true conservatism or nothing but a tinny me-too echo of the Pelosi-Schumer-Biden Democrats.

Most recently, McCarthy has pledged to force the resignation or impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for the implementation of Biden’s open border policy. In addition, McCarthy has promised oversight hearings on the disastrous Afghanistan troop withdrawal, the Biden family’s connections to corrupt business deals in China and elsewhere, the origins of COVID-19, and the targeting of parents at school board meetings.

Any one of those would be a major accomplishment, and there is no reason to expect McCarthy to turn 180 degrees and start covering up for Democratic policies when he actually takes the reins. There hasn’t been a successful Republican speaker since the mid-90s, and McCarthy’s considerable ego would rather be the new Newt Gingrich than the latest loser like John Boehner or Paul Ryan.

Yet this small group of Trump-aligned Republicans insists that McCarthy will become speaker only over their dead body. Well, if it comes to that, they will be in good company, because the Republican Party will also be dead.

Frank Miele, the retired editor of the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell, Mont., is a columnist for RealClearPolitics. His newest book, “What Matters Most: God, Country, Family and Friends,” is available from his Amazon author page. Visit him at or follow him on Facebook @HeartlandDiaryUSA or on Twitter or Gettr @HeartlandDiary. This article was originally published by RealClearPolitics and made available via RealClearWire.

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